Friday, October 25, 2019

New 5E Magic Item idea: Cannibalistic Magic Items

In my Catamaran B Team Campaign I wanted to get away from the Glory Point system I'd used previously and get into more traditional treasure drops. I also wanted to do something with items you keep that level up over time, but also didn't want characters to permanently exit the gear treadmill as soon as they got one. To serve both these ends I came up with the idea (that someone else has probably had) of magic items that consume other items of similar type to increase their power. The example of this is a weapon that consumes other magic weapons and gets more powerful based on the total number of pluses consumed. The first example of this is below.

The Reaver
  • +1 battle axe, be changed to the form of a great axe, hand axe, battle axe, or a glaive as part of a short rest.
  • Attuning reduces the wielder’s max hit points by 5
  • Can use reaction after striking a non-undead or construct enemy to do an additional 1d6 necrotic damage to that enemy, gain that many temp hit points for the wielder
  • Can consume other magical weapons over a short rest. When it has drained a total number of pluses, the abilities of the weapon increase according to the table below. Note ammunition cannot be used in this fashion.
  • +1: Necrotic and bonus hit point die increases to 1d8
  • +2: Gain resistance to necrotic damage
  • +3: Become a +2 weapon.
  • +4: Necrotic and bonus hit point die increases to 1d10
  • +5: Can sense direction to the Reaver, within 500 feet can call it to hand as a bonus action. Can cast speak with dead on any corpse killed with it.
  • +6: Becomes a +3 weapon
  • +7: Necrotic and bonus hit point die increases to 2d6
  • +8: On killing a non-undead and non-construct being, regain 1 hit die
  • +9: Necrotic and bonus hit point die increases to 2d8

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Combining Projects

I've long had a project that I've tinkered with I refer to as King Arthur w/Giant Robots, which has been a post-apocalyptic retelling of the King Arthur mythology with giant robots. The tabletop gaming group has grown at my work, so I was thinking of putting the game together for real and doing a playtest at work. In doing so I sort of refactored the background of the game to be more... fantastic sci-fi post-apocalyptic than mutants and radiation post apocalyptic. What can I say, I like Borderlands.

King Arthur with Giant Robots Pitch

The Empire Eternal retreated from the land of New Albion ten generations ago in the wake of diseases unknown, blights upon the land, and invasions from off-world by both the Saxons and Picts. No longer able to garrison the borders of the Empire with its legions and fleets, Emperor Constantine withdrew his forces from New Albion and other lands, leaving its people to fend for themselves. Only Uther Pendragon was able to stand against the invaders in his armour suit Caliburn, turning back the invaders so violently they would not return for a generation, but at the cost of his life. The time of peace his blood bought is coming to an end. The Saxons are returning to New Albion in force, and only scattered knights wielding the weapons of the Imperial Age stand in their path. Your village is home to such a knight and together you must step forward to defend your land, your people.

And on a distant hill the combat robot Caliburn waits sleeping for the next true ruler of New Albion to awaken it.


Last Knights of Camelot is a game about the survivors of an off world colony trying to survive in the face of alien environments, off world threats, and internal squabbles after the interstellar empire that founded the colony retracted its support generations ago. The players are the residents of a small settlement built among the ruins of terraforming equipment, industrial farms, and alien flora. The village is surviving but not quite prospering and is beset by threats which the players must deal with. The village’s strength is some manner of ancient war machine leftover from the height of the colony’s power. This war machine secures the village’s borders, gives it political clout in the region, and makes it far more important than one expect of a village its size. The players are the leaders of the village and have important roles in it, including operating and supporting the war machine.


Movies: Nausicaa of the Valley of the Winds, Excalibur, Fury Road
Television: Vision of Escaflowne
Books: Nausicaa of the Valley of the Winds
Games: Pendragon, A Song of Ice and Fire RPG, Mutant, Battletech, Mekton

Gameplay is broken into three main types of play:
  • Personal - Standard rpg play controlling your character through tense situations, social and physical conflicts, etc.
  • Battle - Fielding the warmachine and other forces in a large scale battle. Each player will have some resource to bring to bear in these conflicts.
  • Village - Between sessions and over any large stretches of in game time the players work to support and improve their village.
So that's the pitch and I started tinkering with a rules system, but then I got to thinking: could I do this with 5E? With the huge player base of 5E, seems like it could be a smart business move and at this point the system is pretty open to tinkering with. I had also been thinking lately about tinkering with in line with the Warhammer Fantasy RPGs version of Zero to Hero than D&D's Zero to Hero curve in the hopes of extending play in the level range where 5E really works for me (which I would say is around 3-8, just personal preference but I find levels 9+ to be too slow in combat, too much decision paralysis, etc).  

To that end I was thinking a 5E based system where the players worked there way through a succession of 5 level classes.  The classes available would be limited by what classes they've already completed and how players have chosen to upgrade their village; building a barracks opens up more combat oriented options. The goal would not be to limit characters, but to encourage them to work on the village (there should never be a situation where a player cannot advance into a good class due to the group choosing to do something else with the village). So a character's progress may be Peasant/Militia Member/Soldier/Master Swordsman/Officer, or Scribe/Hedge Mage/Student Mage/Wizard/Archmage.  Characters would level every session (maybe only for the first ten levels?) but each level would not be a huge increase in power.  This obviously would require a lot of writing work, but I think it would work well for fixing some of the criticisms I have of 5E while keeping it familiar enough for people to still "get it."    

The end result would hopefully be something like a sci-fi version of Beyond the Wall's hearth fantasy.  Low power level (except when the giant robot comes out), focus on the community, etc. I;d probably set it up so the first quest chain the players ended up on was powering up the war machine in their village, establishing the importance of the village in the region.  

TLDR: King Arthur with Giant Robots by way of 5E, Warhammer Fantasy, and Beyond the Wall.